We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Sat 2 Jan 2010 02:39 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Oman's finance minister sees 2010 growth at 6.1%

UPDATE 1: Oman not to ditch currency peg to the $; to spend $2.4bn on jobs projects in '10.

Oman's minister of finance forecast on Saturday GDP in real terms for 2010 at 6.1 percent, and inflation at 3.5 percent, without giving comparative figures for the previous year.

Ahmad Mekki, who is also the minister of national economy, told reporters that Oman's total debt as of the end of 2009 stood at 722 million Omani riyals ($1.88 billion), with domestic debt accounting for 252 million riyals of the total figure.

"In 2010, we see a 6.1 percent GPD growth in real term due to expected higher revenues as a result of a bigger oil production," Mekki said.

He reiterated previous comments that there were no plans to ditch Oman's currency peg to the dollar or to join the Gulf Co-Operation Council Monetary Union at any point in the future.

On Dec. 13, Mekki said he expected the country's economy to grow by a sluggish 1-2 percent in 2009 after it was hit by lower oil prices in the second quarter.

"In 2010, we see a 6.1 percent GPD growth in real term due to expected higher revenues as a result of a bigger oil production," Mekki said.

He reiterated previous comments that there were no plans to ditch Oman's currency peg to the dollar or to join the Gulf Co-Operation Council Monetary Union at any point in the future.

On Dec. 13, Mekki said he expected the country's economy to grow by a sluggish 1-2 percent in 2009 after it was hit by lower oil prices in the second quarter.

Mekki's remarks did not clarify whether he was referring to a change in nominal or real gross domestic product.

The global economic crisis slashed income for Gulf Arab oil producing nations, sending the region's key economies into downturn last year.

Non-OPEC Oman was less affected than fellow oil exporters in the region because it did not have to join oil output cuts required by the group.

Mekki said on Saturday that 2009 figures were yet to be finalised.

Oman, which exited plans for a Gulf Arab monetary union more than three years ago, will not budge on its decision, Mekki said on Saturday.

"Oman has no plans to review joining the GCC monetary union now or in the future," he said.

The sultanate was the first to exit the plan, followed by the United Arab Emirates, which quit in May last year, dealing a serious blow to the union.

Oman has also allocated 937 million rials ($2.4 billion) to build new projects in 2010 to create thousands of jobs for nationals, the national economy minister said on Saturday.

About 5,000 Omani nationals look for jobs every year in a job market fiercely contested by foreigners who make up 25 percent of Oman's total population of 3 million people.

"The 937 million rials will be spent on projects that will create 4,000 jobs for nationals in the labour market this year," National Economy Minister Ahmad Mekki told a news conference.

The projects include water desalination plants, schools, roads and hospitals, Mekki said.

"In a separate account, oil and gas production will cost 1.45 billion rials this year, which represents 20 of the total expenditure allocated for this year," Mekki said. (Reuters)

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall